First Aid Handbook: Teething

A baby chews on something
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Just as a new parent thinks they may be getting into a routine with their little one, little white spots start appearing on the baby’s gums, causing havoc and changing their routine completely. Experienced parents know these telltale signs of teething, but also know every child and every “batch” of teeth is different. How you and your child can work through teething will depend on a number of things. 

Teething Timeline

Most babies will get their first teeth between 5 and 7 months. Some babies get theirs a little earlier and some a little later, with very rare instances of babies born with teeth (although it does happen). According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the bottom two teeth come through first in most cases, followed by the top four teeth. There are 20 baby teeth in all and they have all moved through the gums by 2.5 years for most children, again there are some exceptions to the rule. 


Besides seeing slight inflammation on the gum, in the form of a red spot that is slightly swollen or puffy, your baby may be a little fussy. This fussiness should be similar to tired crankiness, but not all out crying for long periods of time. Babies will also often drool more during periods of teething. In addition to babies naturally liking to put items in their mouth, which is normal at this stage, they may put items in their mouth to chew for some extra relief from the slight discomfort that comes with the tooth breaking through the gum. 


Working through teething may prove an additional hardship for nursing mothers. Continue to make sure your baby has a good latch to prevent any trauma. If teething and biting becomes an issue, stop nursing for a moment or two before trying again. This may take trial and error, but most moms are able to continue working hard to nurse their teething baby. 

Additionally, a baby may have other signs of illness, like diarrhea or fever, but these are likely due to an infection occurring at the same time as teething, not because of teething. You may want to take your child in for a doctor visit for these symptoms if they don’t pass on their own. 


The best choices for pain relief for teething are cold items the baby can chew, suck, or gnaw on. Teething toys that are designed to freeze are best as they have been tested so they won’t get too cold and cause other damage to a baby’s already hurting mouth. Some babies like pieces of frozen fruit in a mesh-feeding bag they can chew on with supervision. Rubbing their gums with your finger or with a soft baby toothbrush can be both a relief and a way to provide oral stimulation that is good for their development. Teething gels and dissolvable tablets don’t always work, you can contact your physician for more advice on pain relief. 

If your baby is having extra issues that you think isn’t teething related, bring them in to one of our clinics and we can help figure out the cause to their illness or discomfort. Our clinics are open every day of the week, from 8am to 8pm and we are ready to serve your baby and the rest of your family. 

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